Friday, November 14, 2008

The Franklin House

is dead.

As of January 1st, the Franklin House will no longer be operated as a collective or a community open space. It saddens me deeply, probably more deeply than I could ever convey, that this is the reality of the situation. The bottom is this:

A collective must maintain a high level of organization and communal involvement. We have severely lacked in this realm, and therefor suffer the consequences. This is not to say that people have not given a lot to the space, many of you have, and I know this will come as a loss to you as well. This is to say, though, that we appear to face the truth that "life-style" and "life" are very different ideas. I never had the intention of being a life-style based collective. We were not founded on the idea that there is an inherently better life-style choice to make, rather that we can make a better life, for ourselves, and for the world. We embraced ideas of change and experimentation, but fell in the follow through of committing to each other.

In many cases, we have seen the joys and beauty that can develop, and also have felt the pains of growth and of the demons of our former lives creeping in. We gave into our self motivated wants without taking into account the damage or lack of inclusion that this creates. There is not one person in this house that is not guilty of this unfortunate quality, but what is much more unfortunate is there is not a strong group of people here than help each other to overcome these ideas. We simply feel that conflict resolution means speaking out about your grievance and apologizing for your indiscretion. There is not sort of change of life involved, there is simply resentment built and trust destroyed.

We have tried to become something that none of us could support. I am sorry for this. I really do have a great amount of love for most of the people that either come here on a regular basis, or those that have found their way here but once and left a lasting mark in my life, and I am sure in the lives of others here. I am grateful for this. What I think is not understood by many people, is the difference between participating and dedicating.

Some of the people here have found the option of removal from the situation. Angela, Fair, Whitman, and myself have never had this option, and therefor have been pushed into full blown dedication. There is a vast amount of difference in perception here. Some perceive this house as something that is a fun thing to try. Others of us have found that this is our last hope for the world. Both were wrong, of course, and neither can reconcile that difference without a great amount of disappointment or anger.

If I were to take the time, in this post, to go over, line by line, the joys we have felt and the pains we have felt, it would read on forever. I will not put either you, as the reader, or myself, as the author, through this sentimental roller coaster. I will say, simply, I am exhausted. I will most likely lose some close friends in this, or those who I feel were close. I am resigned to accept this. It is nothing new, or shocking, when this happens. It is hurtful, yes, but I, having lived a lot of life in this small world, am aware that this happens. If it were not for this, there would be no gauge for the love I have felt before. Being a demanding person, I am often confused as being an asshole. That is understandable, but I defy anyone to find me to be more demanding than I am giving. I have given my life to this "idea". I have been proven to be a sucker for the dreams of better, and I do not apologize for that.

"I just wish we could have done more" - Bill Ayers

There were many things that I would have liked to create here, that now will never be. We had Howard Zinn and Derrick Jensen, Mark Rudd and a gang of poets ready to come here in person and lead a class or two in our "free university". That will not happen.

We have a collection of bikes that were to become the first ever St. Charles free bike program. They will be for sale in the spring, as an attempt to raise money for our move to Portland. If they do not sell, they will be free.

Angela's great idea of collectively made hand bags and fashions, that have potential buyers and supporters around the world, will never be.

The many bands and performers who found this space to be an oasis on their tour, will now be booked at a capitalist institution, likely to be drowned out by cash registers and cappuccinos. My deepest apologies for this.

These are but a few of the things that we were working on, that will not happen. This post is not meant to guilt people, rather to give a level of understanding as to what we failed at. This, at the very least, will be a great learning experience for some.

We will maintain our schedule through December, but as of January 1st, we are back to being a family home. This does not mean that you cannot come by and visit, but it will be a while before I will be ready for guests, I know that.

Let's try to make the best out of the next month, and I will do my best to focus on the positive. I promise that. Thanks again to all who have given and taken from this space. I will love that, forever.


Jenny said...

Just because you cannot do everything that you wanted to do, doesn't mean that you can't do some things. . .

I wish you luck in your future endeavors.

angela said...

it's the "some things" that are lacking. it's the fight for things to come into fruition that no one is stepping up to wage. if people are disappointed in our decision... then do something about it.

deer mouth said...

I went to your house and it's a nice concept but your location is awful. I think if you lived in south st.louis city you'd have more support. St. Charles is just not the place for this type of thing.

angela said...

the location was the point. how many collectives are there in the city? who is in more need? who will be more affected by having our house in their community? The easiest solution is not always the best. st. charles has had a history of counter-culture since the opening of Music Reunion, Glad Rags, and Java Jazz and Blues. The sheer success of those establishments are signs that St. Charles can sustain fringe culture. Java Jazz and Blues only fell through once the city's, not the community's, pressure to remove them gained hold. I think people's cynicism of St. Charles was a prime factor in our dissolvement.

AMEN said...

The problem with house is not location. I have been to collctives in major cities and in small towns, both have equal benefits and downfalls. The problem with this house was the lack of commitment from core members of the community here. Also, a lot of our nurtured selfishness is still prevalant, coupled with a lack of understanding of this, leads to a reverting of the relationship.

St. Charles, and other places such as St. Charles are perfrect and ripe for anarchist collectives. Here we pose a challenge to the entire community of St. Charles, being that it is small enough that a lot of people are aware of our existence. We also became very entrenched in local politics, acting as a thorn in the side of council whenever they attempted to disenfranchise local people in the name of big money. Location is not the issue. In fact, I would say our location was what made it as special as it was for a lot of the people around here.